Destinations

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Samui Elephant Sanctuary Review

in Destinations/Recreation by

“For the herds of wild elephants show no resentment when domesticated animals join them. They have none of that herd instinct directed against the stranger that one finds in cattle, in small boys, and among many grown-up men. This tolerance is just one of the things about elephants which makes one realize they are big in more ways than one.”

― J.H. Williams, Elephant Bill

Samui Elephant Sanctuary opened on 16 January 2018 by Founder Wittaya Sala-Ngam and is the first ethical elephant sanctuary in Koh Samui. Currently, there are five elephants in their care; Cartoon, Kham San and Sri Nin (50 – 60 years old) who came to the sanctuary from the local riding camp on Koh Samui. The sanctuary also has two younger elephants; Nong Pech (7 years old) and Moloair (9 years old) who came to the elephant sanctuary from Surin province.

Samui Elephant Sanctuary offers tours that educate visitors about the importance of these extraordinary, majestic giants. You will be able to feed and walk and observe the elephants as they forage, socialize and play, and do what elephants do, and that’s be elephants.

These five elephants that now live, at the Samui Elephant Sanctuary, have come from an extremely hard life, working long hours in the entertainment or logging industries. These stunning animals have been beaten and made to do what their owners wanted by use of force and torture. Having a chair strapped to their back or painting a picture has never been part of their natural environment. The positive news for elephants is that times are changing and projects such as the Samui Elephant Sanctuary are becoming the new way for a tourist to experience elephants. 

The Samui Elephant Sanctuary is the perfect opportunity for families, couples, and friends to discover the life of elephants in a stunning natural setting and enjoy these beautiful creatures in a way that does not take advantage of the animal. The project works under the Save the Elephant Foundations “off Saddle” program.

On arrival, you will be welcomed by extremely friendly and highly dedicated team of staff, many of whom are volunteers, that are all committed to the well-being of the animals. The tours focus on observation of the elephant’s natural behaviors and as such, they do not allow guest to join the elephants in the mud pit or swimming pool and of course NO RIDING.

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Ring of Fire: An Indonesian Odyssey

in Destinations/Tips by

See Bali Island in the 1970s’

Travel back in time and catch a glimpse of daily life on the island of Bali in the 1970s. Ring of Fire: An Indonesian Odyssey is a must-see material for anyone who loves Bali and Indonesia. I for one got hooked from the very first minute I started watching this series of five documentaries. It was back in 1972 when the English brothers Lorne and Lawrence Blair set off from Great Britain to the Indonesian Archipelago to explore mystical lands and indigenous tribes, not knowing if they would ever return. Their journey led them from the deep jungle of Kalimantan to pirate territory in Sulawesi, to primitive tribes in New Guinea and Sumba, to giant lizards on Komodo Island and finally to the sacred island of Bali with all of its temples, shrines, Gods, demons and mysticism. I found it inspiring and intriguing to watch these two brothers going off-the-grid like true explorers without any modern-day luxuries such as Google Maps, Google Translate or whatsoever. They went on a crazy insane adventure and they were lucky to survive…

How it all began

Following in the footsteps of naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, Lorne and Lawrence Blair initially traveled to the Spice Islands of Indonesia to capture footage of the legendary Greater Bird of Paradise. The things they discovered on the way were more compelling than they ever could’ve imagined. Before they knew it, a decade had passed, exploring places, islands and indigenous tribes off the map.
When they started out, Lorne was an ethnographic filmmaker who had been working for BBC and Lawrence had just earned his Ph.D. writing a doctoral thesis on psycho-anthropology. The brothers left their familiar civilization behind on a Phinisi boat with Bugis Pirates on the island of Sulawesi and they jumped into a world unknown to them.

A decade of exploring lands unknown

The brothers Blair made nine expeditions between 1972 and 1985. In total, Lorne shot over 80 hours of video footage on a 16mm film. The footage is authentic, raw, intimate, wild, utterly cool and interesting. You get a real glimpse into the cultures, traditions and rituals of indigenous Indonesian tribes. Lorne and Lawrence may have been the last true ‘explorers’ like we had them in the old days, long before the digital age kicked in.

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Through the Keyhole: Villa Sammasan

in Destinations by
Surin family villa

Villa Sammasan owners tell us about their stunning ocean view home over looking Surin Beach on Phuket’s west coast.

Surin villa with view

Why did you choose to buy your villa in Phuket and at this location?

We bought the villa because it had an all-encompassing view from every room looking over the Andaman Sea and you can walk to the beach. We saw many places, but they were in the mountains far away from the beach.  The house is perfectly positioned to capture the sunset each night, and you get an immediate view from every part of the house.

We also liked the clean, modern architecture, with its flow and design. There is a sprawling private master suite with its own balcony and Jacuzzi and lots of space. You can walk straight from the living area out onto the terrace and to the pool, so its central to the house.  And you can sit in the living room and see the pool, sala and view beyond. We also have a private TV room and secluded rooms with their own ensuite and balconies downstairs.

Villa Sammasan - Surin, Phuket

What is your inspiration for the villa design?

Sammasan looks outwards towards Surin Beach and the Andaman Sea and the headlands, one of which is home to Thailand’s top resort, the Amanpuri. So we wanted to capture the seaside with a beachhouse feel, a kind of Cape Cod design, with Thai influences. Hence you see lots of white walls, but with splashes of colour and art and design that inspires. You have a modern Poliform kitchen but with a traditional Thai sala. It’s the blend of the traditional with the very modern.

What features make the villa unique?

The view. The spaciousness. The art. The location. The furniture. The colours inside  complement the views outside. This all influences the mood. Anyone who appreciates art and design will enjoy this boutique villa.

Surin private pool villa

What would you like guests to experience at your villa?

A home away from home in a fantastic location. A place to rest and relax after going out into the hustle and bustle of Phuket.  Enjoy the shade in the morning and then at the end of the day, watch the sun set over the Andaman on the lounges or in the outdoor sala. You can go out or you can stay in the villa and watch the beauty of nature unfold outside.  

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Bento, yakitori and sushi in Bali

in Destinations/Dining by

You have to love a cuisine that managed to invent another flavor. Umami refers to that extra layer of deliciousness that defies description.

Japanese food has infiltrated the far corners of the world, satiating our interest as well as our appetites. Read on to discover Japanese restaurants and places to order sushi in Bali, Indonesia.

Sake no Hana

contemporary Japanese

Sake no Hana may be new in Bali but they come with a serious reputation in other parts of the world, most notably in London’s fashionable Mayfair. Described as contemporary Japanese, Sake no Hana’s Executive Chef travelled from London to create this menu and it is filled with temptation and flavor. From their signature menus, which offer exotic imports like Kobe beef, Hamachi sashimi and Alaskan king crab, to bento boxes to a scale of signature menus, this is worth the splurge.

Overlooking the sparkling new daytime destination, Omnia, on the Uluwatu coast, Sake no Hana is filled with light by day. At night, as the club closes, it becomes a sophisticated destination restaurant. With a refreshingly different menu of bespoke cocktails alongside some wonderful wine and sake selections, Sake no Hana adds sophisticated new flavours to Uluwatu. 

Top tip: leave room for desserts, which are beautiful, creative and delicious.
Cover image credit: Sake no Hana. 

Ryoshi

sushi, yakitori and jazz

Ryoshi’s owner, Sagon Togasa, opened his first Ryoshi in Seminyak to house his two great loves; sushi and jazz. It still does that and more. With Ryoshi now in Sanur, Ubud and offering welcome respite to shoppers in Galleria, the menu has expanded alongside the empire.

At heart is the sushi window, with chefs slicing sushi and sashimi to order, fresh seafood is also part of the philosophy. There are grills, braises and rice bowls. A range of delicious kushiyaki, grilled food on sticks, and some delicious vegetarian options.

Agadashi tofu is a hit here as is the Japanese steak, the traditional fried chicken and steaming bowls of udon with your choice of toppings. Best of all it’s ultimately affordable.

Top tip: Monday night is the most popular night as the jazz is always world class, head upstairs and take a seat in the restaurant or hang out at the bar.

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Through the Keyhole: Villa Zelie

in Destinations by
Villa Zelie - Canggu, Bali

Villa Zelie owners tell us about their unique private pool villa in Canggu, Bali.

Villa Zelie - Outdoor living area

where stress is unknown.

People have described Villa Zelie as a private Eden or Heaven on Earth (and we agree!). How do you describe it?

It is a garden of Eden. Villa Zelie is a haven of peace and calm in the middle of Seminyak and Canggu. You forget about the world, the heat, the dampness, the noise and the traffic as you arrive at the villa. There is only peace and harmony there. That’s why I do not hesitate, several times a year, to make this long trip just to relax a few days. There are only good energies at Zelie, where stress is unknown.

Les gens ont décrit Villa Zelie comme étant un Éden privé ou un paradis sur Terre (et nous sommes d’accord!). Comment la décrivez-vous?

C’est un jardin d’Éden. La Villa Zelie est un havre de paix et de calme au milieu de Seminyak et Canngu. Vous oubliez le monde, la chaleur, la moiteur, le bruit et la circulation dès que vous arrivez à la Villa. Là, il n’y a plus que calme et harmonie. C’est pour cela que je n’hésite pas, plusieurs fois par an, à faire ce long voyage juste pour venir me relaxer quelques jours. Il n’a que de bonnes énergies et le stress y est inconnu. 

 

Villa Zelie - Outdoor living area

Where is your favourite place to relax at your villa?

I actually have two. During daytime, the pool house by the pool, from which you can hear the sound of birds and the rippling water. Simple pleasure but so relaxing. In the evening, the sofa in the living room, facing the garden, which is adorned with all its lights. I can watch this for hours, with a glass of wine, it’s magic.

Quel endroit dans la villa est votre préféré pour vous détendre?

J’en ai deux.  La journée, le pool house au bord de la piscine, vous écoutez le bruit des oiseaux et le clapotis de l’eau. Plaisir simple mais tellement reposant. Le soir, dans le canapé du salon, face au jardin, qui s’est paré de toutes ses lumières. Je peux regarder cela des heures, avec un verre de vin, c’est magique.

 

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